Ethiopia is steeped in a rich distant history and a more turbulent recent past. Geographically the country offers a wide variety of topography, including the highest concentration of highland areas in the African continent. Since the end of civil war in the 1990s and recognition of Eritrea as an independent state, Ethiopia has been land-locked. Poverty remains a severe problem although the end of out and out civil conflict has at least averted the degree of drought-induced famine that shaped the country’s image during the 1980s.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Depending on different regions there is a wide variety of coffees, produced either as dry processed or washed. Top Ethiopian quality displays unique characteristics, incorporating varying degrees of fruit and floral notes. Coffee is still largely sold through the auction system, although over the past few years there has been the emergence of cooperative organised groups able to offer green coffee direct to the export level. Main harvest times are from October/November through to April.